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(generated from captions) making light of sexual harass

mepts. politics are pointing the

finger at each other allegations against the Speaker finger at each other over

Peter Slipper. He misusing taxpayer funded Peter Slipper. He denies CabCharges

CabCharges an rejects a civil

claim he sexually harassed a

staffer. He has stepped aside

add Speaker while the criminal

allegations about the

CabCharges are investigated.

We'll cross live to another

event. The leader of government business is holding a media

conference. We'll go to that now. Ooef a a freight terminal

with a port shuttle to Port

Botany to open by July 2017.

This is a project that was

first proposed by the Howard first proposed by

Government back in 2004. It's

been recommended by

Infrastructure Australia as a

national priority. It has taken

a Labor Government to make it

happen. This follows a

comprehensive feasibility study

which has considered in-depth

managing freight movements Sydney's growing problems in

through the city. The

statistics are statistics are stark. Port

Botany is Australia's sec

biggest contain questioner

terminal and it is experiencing

record growth in record growth in container movements. Around 7% every year

for the past five years, forecast to grow at around that

figure every year for the next

25 years. The vast majority of these containers move through

by truck, Sydney's congested road network

by truck, exacerbating

congestion for computers trying

to get to work or home. city has become a freight to get to work or home. The

bottleneck and this is

inefficient and costly. It's estimated that truck traffic at

Port Botany will increase by

400% by 2030 if the current

rail mode share is

improved. That's why we've rail mode share is not

decided to relocate Defence

from moreback to an from moreback to an expanded

Holsworthy Barracks by the end

of 2014. This will make

available a 220 hectare available a 220 hectare site that can provide for the in intermodal terminal required now and into the intermodal terminal facilities

future. The more bonk intermodal shuttle would

deliver both a short shut well to address short-term capacity constraintses as well as an interstate terminal after 2029

to meet future growth

requirements. We expect the

project to cost probably $2 billion. With a considerable

amount of funding coming from

private sector source who is will design, build and operate

the facility. The project will provide an enormous international injection into the local and national economy

and a range of other

environmental and social

benefits. The detaildz business

to the economy will be around case indicates that the value

$10 billion. With an injection

of $135 million a year into the local economy of south-western Sydney alone. It will create 1650 jobs And a further 1,700 ongoing 1650 jobs during construction.

jobs in the region through the operation of these facilities.

This is a great boost to the economy of Western Sydney. However, this isn't just about jobs. There will be a jobs. There will be a wide

range of beneficiaries. For the average commuter stuck in

Sydney traffic Sydney traffic there are Big

Ben fits. 3,300 fewer trucks on

the road every day from 2020.

Two fewer trucks a minute. Two fewer trucks a minute. This

is a big difference in terms of

congestion on the M5 and on

Sydney's road network. We know

at the moment two-thirds of

freight that goes into or out

of Port Botany is for or from

Western Sydney. The business

and industry through reduced

costs will also benefit through

faster and more faster and more efficient

freight movement. This is a big

part of the government's

product agenda. It means product agenda. It means that

rail will be more competitive

with road building on the

government's $4.8 billion towards improving the national

freight network. Finally the environment about be a big

winner. For every million containers transportsed to the port shuttle by rail, 3.5

million litres of fuel and

9,500 tonnes of CO2 greenhouse gases will be saved annually.

This is a great project. I'm very proud that this is

addressing in a very practical

way the question which has been

raised by the infrastructure

sector for some time, which is

how does the Commonwealth use

its land holdings to unlock private financeing to get private financeing to get vital infrastructure that Australia needs? This project and the way

that we've structured it that we've structured it does just that. I that

through a couple of issues in terms of the financial aspects

of the project. This project is

all about productivity, for all about productivity, for the nation and productivity for Sydney and the other Sydney and the other additional

benefits that Anthony has

outlined. It benefits over the

30 - its benefits over the 30

year period are valued at $10

billion, including reduced road

congestion and improvement

reliability of freight

services. Today we're announcing our intention to call for tenders from the private sector to design, build

and operate an intermodal terminal

terminal at more bank. The

government will clear the way

for the private sector to develop and operate this

terminal on the Commonwealth

site. In coming to this

decision and in structureing this project in the way we have

the government has gone back to

first principles. How do we best ensure the greatest productivity benefits for

Sydney and for the nation. To ascertain this, we have

undertaken a detailed business

case study over two years, including advice from KPMG, Deloittes and others, and we're

making this business case

public today. This looked at #

5 different models before

recommending the proposal the

government is announcing government is announcing today. The cost benefits analysis

shows conclusivy that n IMF is

vital for Sydney and

international activity and identified the SME site as best

able to meet this need. The

government has also ensured

that this business case has

been peer reviewed. The feasibility study also demonstrated that maximising private sector investment was

the best way of delivering the

more bank IMF. Let's be clear.

Despite some media speculation,

it is not the government that is intending to build or

operate this facility. What we

will do is clear the way for

the private sector to develop and construct and operate the

facility. We want the private

sector to deliver this project

for the nation. We've accepted the advice from our business case study and we are

announcing as I said a process

which will be run in 2013 which will be run in 2013 for

private operators to build the

more bank site. This will be a

competitive and open process which will be constructed in which will be constructed in a fair and transparent matter so

as not to favour any as not to favour any particular proponent. The government will

continue to have a role as land lord

lord at more bank and we'll do

so through a government

business enterprise to business enterprise to ensure that project outcomes are maintained and that a

commercial focus is maintained.

And that GBE, government

business enterprise, will be

responsible for running the

tender for private sector

involvement which will

obviously be at arm's length

from the government to ensure the best outcomes. the best outcomes. Any questions? My question is why is it that the Business Council

of Australia and other of Australia and other private developers prefer a site across

the road to the one you're

proposing? It is the case that

there has been an issue which has raised

has raised in the media with

SIMTAa consortium which

currently have an arrangement

to operate across the road to operate across the road from where the SME site currently where the SME site currently is

across the other side of more

bank road. What is not the case

is that that can be done cost is that that can be done free. There are a range of

costs involved, including the

moving of defence , moving of defence , including

the upgrade of more bank road,

including access in terms of

the rail line that will be

built around that side. Defence

are currently on the SME site

but are also on a large portion

of the site across the of the site across the road

from more bank road next to the SIMTA site. Defence have

currently a lease on that site till 2013. They have an option

of extending by five years to 2018. And then a further option of extending until 2023.

of extending until 2023. What's

clear from defence is that they regard their ability to

continue to function on the SME

site as being hindered by the

idea that somehow you'd have a smaller facility operating in conjunction while defence

remained on the site. The

analysis in the business case

makes it very clear essentially

if you want the site to operate

properly you had to go for the

bigger proposal that gets bigger proposal that gets it

right not just for five years but for five generations but for five generations and beyond. This is a long-term

solution N Sydney already you

have intermodal facility at Enfield and Chillora. They

essentially are full. You need

to build in the capacity to to build in the capacity to get

this right for the entire east

coast. This will be the most significant freight facility

for the east coast. Because it

can be not just a short

shuttle, but it can be the

interstate facility as well

that's so vital. The business

case is out there it's case is out there it's been peer reviewed. It is the case

that there are different views

from the business community. One of the shish us that been of concern is ensuring there is

an open access arrangement.

That this provide as facility

for all the players in the

freight and logistics industry,

not just a select group. This

proposal ensures that that

occurs. This proposal also, as

Minister Wong said, it has been

- there has been some confusion

out there suggest ing that this has about private has about private operation versus public operation. That's

a false delineation. The

government fully intends with

today's announcement, the details are out there for all

to see, in terms of we want the

private sector to operate this facility, to build the

facility, to be engaged all the

way through. We do think this

is a great opportunity to

partner through the fact that the government has the land

with the private sector. But

the idea that you could do it

quicker than this. case makes it clear that is not

the same. You can't simply away the defence facilities. The defence facilities have to

be manageed in terms of moving

and also that move has to be

funded. Can I just add to that?

I make a couple of points. We

had to determine which site

would yield the best productivity benefits. It's

clear what I'll call the SME

site that was the superior site

because of location and size

and in terms of the capacity in

the years to come to handle

greater freight movements. The

decision in relation to which

site, which is a different to

who will design, constructs and

operate is a decision that's based very clearly on based very clearly on which

site has the capacity to yield

the greatest productivity benefits. You're setting up benefits. You're setting up a

GBE, does that mean that the expenditure will be on expenditure will be on the

budget or off the

budget? Remember the GBE will

effectively act as landlord.

There will presumably be some

remediation or preparation of

the site but the design,

construction and operation is

intended to be the private sector and we are announcing

today our intention to call for

tenders for that, in tenders for that, in a competitive and open process.

(Inaudible question) This is

about taking trucks off the

road of Sydney. 3,300 a day. At

the moment in terms of that

area, this is a site that was

chosen by the Howard

Government. This is a site that is on the north-south rail

line, the east-west rail line

to the port is close to the M7,

close to the M5. This is a site

in which when the business case

was done and all the options examined it was pretty clear

that this was the way forward.

Infrastructure decisions are

hard. There is no infrastructure project where I

will be able to walk in here

and say there is no-one

impacted by t by its very

nature. But governments have a responsibility to get these big decisions right in the

interests of productivity. interests of productivity. We certainly have got, I believe, very clearly, we've got this

decision right. This is right

for Sydney, it's right for national product yicht, good

environmental outcomes as well

and in terms of number of

trucks off the road, I think

out there if you do a survey in

terms of unters out there and

say do you want more trucks on

the road or do you want more freight on rail, I think there

is a very clear case that we

need to get more freight onto

rail. Anything rail. Anything else? Senator Wong, what advice have you got from your department about how

long it will take to assess

these CabCharge dockets ... Are we finished with this

project? Yep. I think perhaps at the outset everyone's

interested in important infrastructure projects to

benefit the productivity of the

nation. You have Ang hour-long

news, Paul! I think it news, Paul! I think it would

be useful for people to be

clear what the role of the

department is and what the role

of ministers is in relation to any allegation any allegation about

entitlements. I want to make it

clear that any ministers are

not involved in the investigation of any allegation made against any member of Parliament about en tightslements. That's a long-standing position long-standing position that's

been the case under both parties of parties of government. The reason is to ensure that the

process is arm's length from ministers. We have what is

called the Minchin protocol which is something my predecessors Senator Minchin put in place whereby any

allegation in relation to an

entitlement being utilised by a

member of Parliament is dealt

with by the department. If the

department derms there should

be any referral to the AFP it's

the department that makes that

decision. The relevant minister

who is in the Special Minister

of State would be advised but only after such referral has

been made and that's

appropriate 'cause you would

want to ensure that it is arm's

strength from any political

office. In relation to any

specifics, they are issues that are dealt with by Prime

Ministers. Are you suggesting

it hasn't been referred to it hasn't been referred to the

AFP yet? The AFP have told

reporters ... What I am saying

is if there has been a referral, it is not for referral, it is not for me to make public comment make public comment on that.

That is something you should be asking of the

asking of the AFP. The

minister next to you has said

... I'm here, you can ask me. These documents are from January 27, February 5 to

February 11. It wouldn't be

much ach stretch to think that

it'd be quite easy to check or

verify that these CabCharges

have been filled out properly? Are you asking him or

me? Either of you. Well,

stand by the statements that I

have made which is just a

commonsense thing that has

there has been allegations made.

made. Someone should check them. I'm sure that will them. I'm sure that will occur in the normal process. The

allegations are that Mr Slipper

has given a blank CabCharge to

a hire car driver to fill out.

And that should be possible for

whoever to check but I've been

very clear also to not try to

give instructions to the AFP or

finance or indeed even to Mr

Slipper. Is it protocol for the

department of finance to

prepare a report of any sort,

who does that go to, if it's not with the investigation, is

it referred to the AFP about the conclusion of the process?

The minister whoo would be advised of outcomes is the Special Minister of State.

That's been the case for about

a decade. That they deal with

entitle minute matters and

matters in relation to staff.

But the departmental committee

which considers any allegations is independent of ministers. We would normal ly expect in might be advice after a decision has been made As Leader of the

House, have you spoken to Mr

Slipper in the past 48 hours

since all this has since all this has happened and what was the nature of what was the nature of those conversations? And Tony Abbott

has said today that when the government offered him the

position of speaker last year,

certainly things were known.

Did you know anything about Did you know anything about any of this? Including past practices or past ol gaiss practices or past ol gaiss when

the government offered him the

position of speaker? Two

questions. Yes I have spoken questions. Yes I have spoken to

Mr Slipper. I don't detail my conversations with any of the

independent members of

Parliament as you'd be aware.

Just as a matter of Just as a matter of course. I notes Tony Abbott's comments this morning. I also note the

comments of my counterpart who

said that Peter Slipper was

asked to stand aside when allegations were raised while he was Parliamentary he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime to the Prime Minister John

Howard. That is not true. He

did not stand aside. He remained as Parliamentary

Secretary to the Prime Minister

and went on to be Parliamentary

Secretary to Senator Minchin.

What I did know is that the Liberal and or National Party

had endorsed him at nine

consecutive elections. What I did know is that Tony Abbott

relied upon Peter Slipper for the one vote that he won the leadership of the Liberal Party

by. And that he is only leader of the Liberal Party as a

result of Peter Slipper's support. What I did know is

that Peter Slipper made that

support for Tony Abbott very public. What

public. What I did know is that

Tony Abbott attended Peter Slipper's wedding. Therefore,

indicating a certain comfortable and relaxed nature

to the relationship between to the relationship between Mr

Abbott and Mr Slipper. So I

think it's a bit rich frank ly for Tony Abbott and Christopher

Pyne or other members of the

coalition to say now that they

knew a whole lot of information

which Mr Abbott has said. which Mr Abbott has said. Well, if he knew certain information

that he thought was

inappropriate, why wasn't anything done? Why anything done? Why did Tony

Abbott say, during this term of

Parliament , Peter's a good strong member of the strong member of the coalition down in Canberra on 3 September

2011. Why did Tony Abbott say

at the time of the last

election I'm satisfied that Mr

Slipper has acted within his

entitlements on 20 August 2010?

Mr Abbott can't have it both Mr Abbott can't have it ways. He can't have someone as a member of his team, including

Parliamentary Secretary to the

Prime Minister, is a very

serious position to hold

indeed. Mr Slipper held that

position. He held that position

with the support of the

coalition as he has held the

position in terms of that nine consecutive elections as a coalition candidate. The

question was, what did you question was, what did you know of nature of these of nature of these allegations. As Mr Abbott can't have it both

ways, nor can you. What did you

foe of these allegations at the

time you recruited him as Speaker and do you have any

regret about the decision? regret about the decision? I only knew what was on only knew what was on the

public record and the coalition's comments on the

public record in terms of those issues. With regard to his

position as Speaker, I think

that anyone who looks at the way the Speaker has conducted himself on the floor of the chamber of the House of Representatives would conclude

that he has and indeed a number

of commentators in the of commentators in the press

gallery have concluded that as

well as colleagues from across

the political spectrum have

concluded that he has been

doing a good job as the speaker

of the House of Representatives. Just getting

back to your contact with him,

can you at least tell us when

you spoke with Peter Slipper and did you advise him to stand

aside? He makes his own

decision and its inappropriate

decision and its inappropriate for anyone to make decisions for anyone to make decisions on

behalf of him. Did you advise

... I had discussions with him. I do not have any

intention of detailing the

discussions that I have with Mr

Slipper or Mr Windsor or Mr

Oakeshott or Mr Crook or Mr

Katter or any of them. I am in

regular contact with members in

the interests of transparency.

I'm making it clear that I

spoke to them. But if you - you

can only have private

conversations with people if

you keep them private. I'm someone whoa does someone whoa does that. It's clear you didn't try to clear you didn't try to talk

him out of it? I'm not

commenting on the nature of the

outlook for the numbers on the

floor of the House change your thinking about individual budget measure it is you have

spending cuts that could be

more difficult to get through

the chamber? Well, the first

point I'd make is as I always

make in relation to the budget

or any vote in the House and

the Senate is that the cross

benchers are only relevant if

Mr Abbott continues to be a

complete wall of negativity. As

long as Mr Abbott says,

long as Mr Abbott says, Tony

Abbott says no, that is the

only thing that makes other

votes relevant. And Tony Abbott

says he wants a surplus. He

will have a chance to

demonstrate T he says he wants

a surplus. We will present a

budget that shows our path to surplus. He will decide if he's

going to be serious and either

back the government saves or

come up with some alternatives. The behind the inclusions that

aren't related to matters of

this sexual harassment claim.

Inaudible question) I haven't read or seen the documents. I

have read experiments in the

very extensive coverage I must say that was in the 'Daily

Telegraph', a mere matter of a short period of time after the

documents were lodged late on

Friday afternoon. People can

draw their own conclusions on

that. I haven't gone to all of

the detail, but certainly it's the case that the allegations that have been made by this gentleman go back to the former government and to allegations

of Tony Nutt being notified. As

to the details of that, I don't

know what the details off the

veracity of that, and it's not

up to me to determine that the

appropriate thing is that we

have arm's length have arm's length investigation of any allegations that be have

been made. But certainly there

is a very clear distinction in

my view between issues that

could be of - lead to charges

being laid, and issues that are

- have been raised that clearly

are not of that category. And I

note that in terms of - I think there is an important distinction to be drawn between

criminal proceedings and civil action. If you argue that

people should step aside in

terms of civil proceedings there will be a lot of civil

proceedings going along and a

lot of people stepping aside

'cause people are just 'cause people are just going to the court, anyone can say civil proceedings against anyone

else. Commonsense else to you

that that distinction is

there. When you're saying

people can make their own

conclusions, are you implying it's

it's a stitch-up, a political

stitch-up? No, not at all. I'm not making statements in terms

of people draw their own conclusions. I have no

knowledge. I found out about

this, at the same time other

people did. In terms of there

was very extensive coverage a lawyer established and people

will have a look at those issues and draw their own

conclusions. Damages are being

sought against the

Commonwealth. Senator Wong,

will the Commonwealth defend

itself? I understand the

Commonwealth were Commonwealth were served

formally on Friday. And

obviously the issue raised

relates back to the 2003 allegations. You declineed to

detail your conversation with

Peter Slipper. Surely he is in

a different category now that

he's a holder of high parliamentary office, nominated

and endorsed by the and endorsed by the government. Doesn't that justify us Doesn't that justify us asking

you what you said to him? You can

can ask. That's fine. I have a

policy that is absolute. It

won't find me talking about

private conversations that I

have with people in terms of as

I conduct myself in political life, when I leave political

life, people will regardless of the frustration life, people will give,

that you might have, I hope I

get a tick for my integrity. Do

you still have confidence in

Peter Slipper as Speaker? I

think he has been a very good

spooker. I think it is

appropriate that he has step aside whilst these criminal

issues are being dealt with.

But once they are dealt with,

then either he will return as

Speaker or take some other

action depending what the

findings are. But it's not up

to politicians to pre-empt that process. I don't think that

the basis of drawing allegations against someone are

conclusions before they are proven F that was the case as

you are aware and as other people are aware in this building there is a lot of rumours

rumours go round. If woe to start down the road rumours go round. If woe want

to start down the road of

rumours being on the days is or allegations being of action

being taken then I think the

consequences for our lit kal

processes are are dire indeed. processes are are dire

I think in terms of the important processes of the rule

of law and giving people the

right to defend positions which

are put are important. There

are a range of statements are a range of statements made

by members of the coalition

such as by the manager opposition business such as by the manager of opposition business today that

are simply not correct in terms

of any analysis and Tony

Abbott's position that he has

said today is completely

inconsistent with the position

that he put whilst Peter Slipper was a member of the

coalition for nine terms. As I said, Tony Abbott would said, Tony Abbott would not be

the leader of the opposition

today without him securing the

support of Peter Slipper for

much. that position. Thanks very

They're standing beside a

picture of the intermodal transport project which was the initial subject of discussion

at that media conference. That was to announce the government's calling for

tenders to operate that major

freight terminal in Sydney's

south west near Liverpool. The

aim is to get thousands of

trucks off the congested roads

of Sydney. The government's plan is based on Defence

Department land there is a

rival private sector group. No

doubt we'll hear from it late

today. At the end or for the back half of that media

conference, ministers were also asked questions on the Peter

Slipper story that didn't

appear to add much to things we've already heard on that